Kinfolk 2: See the Birds is the highly anticipated follow up to the 2017 Grammy-nominated album Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere. Featuring the diverse and all-star talents of Brittany Howard, Amma Whatt, Joel Ross, Kokayi, Michael Mayo, Regina Carter, Stokley and Vernon Reid, Kinfolk 2: See the Birds is the inspired and emphatic album that exemplifies Nate’s artistry as one of the most exciting, dynamic and innovative drummer-composers of his generation, adept across multi-genres and styles. Taking inspiration from his teenage years spent absorbing the diverse and eclectic riches of Prince, Michael Jackson and Living Colour. Kinfolk 2: See the Birds is a multi-faceted jewel and is set to be one of the most significant albums of 2021.
Four years after drummer, composer, and bandleader Nate Smith released his Grammy-nominated debut, he’s releasing its thematic follow-up, Kinfolk 2: See The Birds. In the interim, he’s released two other projects: 2020’s R&B-laden EP, Light and Shadow, and 2018’s breakbeat solo drums LP, Pocket Change.
Smith sees Kinfolk as a trilogy that charts his evolution as musician. The first record touched upon his childhood in Chesapeake, Virginia, and the music that he absorbed in his home. Kinfolk 2 continues that narrative, offering an impressionistic portrait of his teenage years when he made the decision to become a musician. During this time, he was checking out a lot of music associated with the Black Rock Coalition such as Living Colour, Fishbone, and 24-7 Spyz, in addition to other pioneering acts such as Bad Brains, King’s X, Prince, and Sting. Smith was also listening to a lot of hip-hop as well as the emerging neo-soul that flowered in the 1990s.
Kinfolk 2 is no throwback album, however. Smith reconciles his influences from his teen years with the modern jazz sensibilities that he’s demonstrated with not just his solo material but as a sideman with a roster of jazz titans that includes guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Dave Holland, and saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Chris Potter.
In fact, Smith cites his long tenure with Potter’s Underground band for being an incubator for him to develop his distinguishable drumming approach, which often combines crisp, funky, head-nodding grooves with flinty modern jazz interactive improvisation.
released September 17, 2021
Brad Allen Williams - guitar
Fima Ephron - bass
Jaleel Shaw - saxophone
Jon Cowherd - piano, rhodes, hammond B-3 organ
Nate Smith - drums, keyboards, percussion
Amma Whatt - vocals on “I Burn For You”
Brittany Howard - vocals on “Fly (for Mike)”
Joel Ross - vibraphone on “Altitude” and “See The Birds”
Kokayi - vocals on “Square Wheel” and “Band Room Freestyle”
Michael Mayo - vocals on “Square Wheel”, “Altitude” and “See The Birds”
Regina Carter - violin on “Collision”
Stokley - vocals on “Don’t Let Me Get Away”
Vernon Reid - guitar on “Rambo: The Vigilante”
Strings on “Don’t Let Me Get Away” arranged by Nate Smith and played by:
Juliette Jones - violin
Monique Brooks-Roberts - violin
Jarvis Benson - viola
Malcolm Parson - cello
Rootstock Republic, LLC - contractor
All songs composed by Nate Smith (Penelope’s Boudoir ASCAP) except:
“Square Wheel” written by Nate Smith, C. Walker, Michael Mayo (Penelope’s Boudoir ASCAP/Pho13 Myuzik SESAC/Michael Mayo Music ASCAP)
“Band Room Freestyle” written by Nate Smith and C. Walker (Penelope’s Boudoir ASCAP/Pho13 Myuzik SESAC)
“Don’t Let Me Get Away” written by Nate Smith and Amma Whatt Agyapon (Penelope’s Boudoir ASCAP/Amma King’s Daughter Music BMI)
“I Burn For You” written by Sting
“See The Birds” written by Nate Smith and Michael Mayo (Penelope’s Boudoir ASCAP/Michael Mayo Music ASCAP)
“Fly (for Mike)” written by Nate Smith and Brittany Howard
Produced by Nate Smith
Executive producer Dave Stapleton
Mixed by Adrian Olsen at Montrose Recording, Richmond, VA
Mastered by Alex De Turk at Bunker Studios, BK
Recorded by Chris Allen at Sear Sound, NYC and Aaron Nevezie and Todd Carder at Bunker Studios, Brooklyn. Additional recording by Dan Davis at Brown Owl Studios, Nashville and Adrian Olsen at Montrose Recording, Richmond, VA. Additional overdubs and editing by Nate Smith at The Crib, Nashville.
Cover and Insert photography by Laura Hanifin. Album artwork by Oli Bentley, Split
Nate Smith plays Ludwig drums, Zildjian cymbals, Evans drum heads and Vic Firth sticks.
Michael Mayo appears courtesy of Mack Avenue/Artistry Records. Joel Ross appears courtesy of Blue Note Records